Fewer Independent Studies Asked, But Every Petition Still Accepted
Despite his threats last Fall to crack down on the independent study program. Dean Epps has not rejected any applications for independent study this Spring.
About 15 students, however, were asked to resubmit their applications.
In an interview yesterday morning, Epps said, "The quality of projects this semester is higher. I am very pleased about that."
Last Fall, Epps rejected ten per cent of the independent study applications in an attempt to "firm up" the program-which, he said, too many students considered the "all-time gut."
The number of independent studies this term has decreased from 805 last Spring to 690.
Epps gave two main reasons for the decrease in independent studies.
"One is that the reform to raise standards has been successful. There is a reduction in the number of those students who apply for independent studies which are not seriously intended," he said.
The second reason Epps cited is last Spring's "Cambodia Option." "Students have too many credits and passes to compete in graduate schools and professional schools." Epps explained, addingthat there has also been a fall-off in the number of seniors requesting double independent studies in the second semester.
Epps hopes to make some procedural reforms in the administration of the independent study program.
In a report which will be submitted to Dean May, Epps suggests reducing the number of signatures now required to obtain independent study, as well as encouraging more "practically-oriented independent studies" in non-academic activities like community health care.
Epps also suggests a decentralization of the independent study program, by conducting independent studies through the Harvard House system.
"I would like to bring the Houses closer to the formal curriculum. The Houses should become the medium of communication," Epps said.